Remember when mom used to tell you your bedroom had to be spick and span and every nook and cranny had to be cleaned? In two hours? Well maybe mom isn’t hovering over your shoulder anymore fastidiously watching whether or not you are stuffing more junk under your bed, but it’s that time of the year again. When the trees are full of lush green vibrancy, the birds begin their nesting and the sun energizes us to all those little projects the winter blues kept us from completing.
The dust and the accumulation of unknown fungi species in our house have long driven us crazy but now that spring is here so is our underlying itch to do something about the cobwebs that have been hibernating in eerie corners for months.
It’s difficult to motivate ourselves to undertake this chore when we don’t even know where to start. Well that’s why I’m here. I get this spring-cleaning compulsion several times a year, every year and have found that the attempt is useless if not starting from the top.
So pull down that creaky, rusty ladder that unfolds itself from your ceiling and begin under the eaves of your house in the mysterious room where angels and ghosts alike are rumored to roam. This haunted place called the attic is in fact nothing more than a forgotten storage empire that may hold treasures and sentimental junk.
Starting here is best as this will help create order in perhaps your only storage solution. Then as you go room by room and find things that can be put in the attic you will know you have a semi-organized method awaiting the new arrivals from downstairs.
Using 14 to 30 gallon plastic sealable totes are perfect when it comes to ensuring that your valuables are in a secure location from moths, dust and the off chance of water leakage through your roof. If you have any energy left, print out the corresponding descriptive label on a sheet a paper and tape to the exposed side of the tote. This will help future frantic rummaging for that one particular item.
From there it’s the corners where wall meets ceiling. Cobwebs, dust, bacteria and perhaps hidden viruses are living rent-free. When was the last time you cleaned your ceiling fan and light fixtures? It’s true about Newton’s epiphany-that what goes up must come down but when it comes to dust bunnies and ceiling fans it is not coming down unless you are going up too!
Here, behind your stove, commodes and furniture, under your refrigerator and beds, these are the regions of our homes that get neglected in our superficial weekend-out-of-town-guests are here cleaning hysterics, but with a bucket of sudsy water, bleach or a heavy dose of 409 sparkling surfaces can be yours once again.
Other handy ingredients for a spring cleaning ritual is Windex, a vacuum cleaner with a long reaching hose, paper towels or old cloth ripped into rags, wood and surface polish, a bucket, sponges, garbage bags and upholstery cleaner. You would be surprised how much repetition of spray, scrub, vacuum will lift up the old stains you would otherwise pay hundreds to have removed. And if as you are cleaning you decided to rearrange furniture place ice cubes in the old furniture prints as this will lift up the carpet fibers and restore an even flow of carpet in your room.
Now while dirt and general messiness are our most contemptible adversaries during spring-cleaning another worthy opponent is that of odor. It seeps into our closets (another area that needs to be on your checklist,), rugs and carpeting and our drapes: yes these need more than Febreze, they require a special trip to the dry cleaners.
But for the lingering odor affects of cigarette smoke, pet dander, and the missing old sock(s) presumably eaten by the dryer, a quick and effective trick to absorbing these nasty odors is hidden in the perfection of white distilled vinegar. Place an open bowl in an inconspicuous area and let the white do it’s magic. Replace the vinegar every 48 hours if the odor hasn’t subsided so that eventually you can go back to your nasal friendly pluggable air fresheners.
Take a deep breath. Sit back, relax, and soak up the rewards of your spic and span house. Windows that the sun can stream through, shelves with visible book spines and if you are lucky a little extra pocket change from the stuff you were able to sell.
See, spring-cleaning is not so bad!